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Nokia tuning up music service

It looks increasingly like Nokia may be taking more steps into the content market and if rumours are correct, attempting to take on Apple’s iTunes service.

The rumour mill evidently got going when invites began dropping into the mailboxes of the telecoms media. Nokia is throwing a launch party on August 29, the night is called “Go Play”, it’s at the Ministry of Sound in London, and the accompanying image is of a band. How much more of a hint do you need?

The expectation is that Nokia will launch a music shop which offers not just direct to PC downloads but also over the air downloads of tracks, something Apple is not offering on iTunes.

To accompany the service, a number of handsets optimised for music are in the works. We already know there’s a shiny black version of the N95 with 8GB of memory coming out and the N81, another slider, which also has 8GB of storage.

It seems there’s been a recent shift at Nokia to embrace the mobile content and services space. Earlier this month the Finnish vendor announced the beta launch of its own social network – Mosh.

As the world’s biggest handset manufacturer, Nokia is in a prime position to be able to develop a decent experience of social networking on the mobile, something the more desktop-based sites are still struggling to do satisfactorily.

The desktop version of the site is accessible at mosh.nokia.com, while the made for mobile version resides on mosh.nokia.mobi and shares all the same features of its desktop-based sister site.

Users can upload a variety of files – audio, video, images, applications, documents and even games, which should prick the ears’ of the lawyers up, as it could pave the way for the sharing of copyrighted content. Or at least, that’s what the music and video industries will no doubt claim.

Nokia doesn’t make it clear whether Mosh is anything to do with Twango, the US-based media sharing service it acquired late last month.

But Twango is a platform for organising and sharing photos, videos and other personal media and gives Nokia a tool to allow users to share multimedia content through their desktop and mobile devices – which sounds a lot like Mosh.

Twango was a privately owned company founded by former Microsoft veterans.

Like the Finnish company’s developments in the widgets space, with Widsets, the Twango acquisition and Mosh are part of Nokia’s longer term strategy of combining its Nseries “multimedia computers” (phones), with an always on connection and a rich media sharing destination.

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